New Czech Stamp on 200 Years of Museology: Opava 1814 – The Silesian Land Museum

\"czechAt the beginning of the 19th century Opava, despite the uniting of Silesia with Moravia in 1782, was still an important administrative center. It housed the regional offices, courts and estate institutions of the principality of Opava and Krnov. On the threshold of the 19th century the city began a series of significant changes that affected not only its appearance but also its life conditions and overall character. At that time Opava particularly strengthened its position as the intellectual center of Austrian Silesia. There were several schools of different stages of education. From them, the state grammar school located in a former Jesuit college in the Lower Square boasted the best results. This grammar school became the place where the oldest public museum in the territory of today’s Czech Republic came into being. The public could be introduced to this new educational and cultural phenomenon as early as 1 May 1814. The project was successfully realized due to the significant help of three people: Faustin Ens (1782–1858), a professor at the Opava state grammar school, Franz Mückusch von Buchberg (1749–1837), a retired chief district administrator, and Johann Joseph Schößler (1761–1834), an Opava burgomaster. Not only did they secure an adequate social support for the whole project, but they also fundamentally contributed to the development of the museum’s collection. The success of the museum soon led to the submitting of an official application for the approval of the statutes and the title Provincial Museum for Austrian Silesia (Oesterreichisch-Schlesisches Provinzialmuseum). The objectives of the museum clearly turned to the study of the nature and culture of Austrian Silesia “by means of collecting specimens from all fields of nature and natural history, especially those that have their origins in Austrian Silesia, to offer young students, but also natural scientists, economists and artists the means to enrich their knowledge of their homeland and thus satisfy their scientific spirit.” This tradition is being kept alive in the Silesian Museum to the present.day.

The Silesian Museum is a symbolical gateway to Silesia. In its collections there are authentic documents on the development of nature and society especially in Czech Silesia, as well as northern and north-eastern Moravia. The Silesian Museum is the oldest public museum on the territory of the current Czech Republic, its history going back to 1814, and at the same time the third largest museum in the country.
The postage stamp shows the façade of the historical exhibition building of the Silesian Museum, an iconic building of not only the Silesian Museum, but also the city.
The building of the former Museum of Emperor Franz Joseph for Arts and Crafts was designed by the Viennese architects Johann Scheiringer and Franz Kachler in the years 1893–1895. In the foreground, there is a statue of winged Genius by the Viennese sculptor Theodor Friedl, which is located on the dome of the building. At present, a Silesian regional exposition is located there.

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